Thomas Midgley

Thomas Midgley

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Thomas Midgley (1889-1944), American engineer and inventor, with the Delco laboratory test engine. Working for Delco in World War I, he led a team working on 'knocking' in petrol engines. He found that tetra-ethyl lead (when used with 1,2-dibromo-ethane to reduce lead oxide deposits in the engine) is highly effective at reducing knocking when added to petrol. The mixture is still used as an anti-knock additive today. Midgley also devised the octane number method of rating petrol quality. In 1930 he introduced Freon 12 as a non-toxic non-flammable agent for domestic refrigerators. Both his main discoveries have since been implicated with environmental problems.

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Keywords: 1900s, 1920s, 20th century, anti-knock, anti-knock engine, car engine, dayton research laboratories, engine, engineer, freon, freon agent, fridge agent, midgley, petrol engine, portraits, refrigerator, research, surname m, thomas

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